“How silly of me. My memory card must be loose again.”

EEVIAC: Operational Index And Reference Guide, Including Other Modern Computational Devices ends with three and a half minutes of the sedate, electronic voice of the titular character, the Embedded Electronic Variably Integrated Astro Console, or EEVIAC, mainframe supercomputer.

Frank Zappa described is album Hot Rats as “a movie for your ears”. Man or Astro-Man? actually delivered by appending this automated audio liner notes sequence to the end of EEVIAC, after a silence of about 36 seconds. It’s literally a reading of end credits that also serves to cool us down from the celestial heights of As Estrelas Agora Elas Estão Mortas and _____ / Myopia.

The track is unlisted on the back of the CD package. The physical liner, which I’ve described earlier, contains no ctual notes in its twelve pages, beyond the album’s title on each page, the track listing , a physical mailing address: Astro Hq 250376 Atlanta, Ga 30325, a web site, www.astroman.com, and an e-mail address, coco@astroman.com. Since there are no actual credits in the liner, they are read aloud by computer at the end of the disc. Besides the superficial similarities of Radiohead’s Fitter Happier from two years earlier, I have never heard a thing quite like it.

I was hoping this would have been transcribed online somewhere. If it is, I haven’t found it yet, and I haven’t got the time right now to transcribe the whole thing, nor could I if I wanted to. The computer voice isn’t the easiest to understand, but it does create an appropriate atmosphere. Suffice to say that there a bunch of names and tasks. One of the more interesting revelations of the notes is the recording location of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. This explains the Portuguese inflections of As Estrelas Agora.

The piece, and with it the album, end with a charming touch of silicone humor. Tchau!


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